There is a common misperception among the American people, especially as they have been subjected to the steady and relentless deconstruction of American history by the iron triangle of government, academia and the media. And it has to do with the American Revolution itself.
It is remarkable how many Americans believe – or just assume – that a vast majority of those late 18th century colonists favored rebellion. That the revolution was therefore inevitable, unavoidable even.
Not true. Loyalists to the crown abounded. Families were bitterly divided. Consensus seemed impossible.
But ah, the energy, the passion, the commitment. That was all in the camp of the Patriots. The Loyalists simply wanted to sustain the system, however deep its flaws. But it was the strength, determination and unwavering commitment of the Patriots that won the day.
The ensuing process of launching – and winning – a revolution was an act of audacity unparalleled in human history.
A bunch of rag-taggers with little more than a small jingle in their pockets and the clothes on their back – farmers, laborers, ordinary people – impassioned for rebellion, rallied to a cause by the strength and leadership of rabble-rousing leaders like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams, speaking truth to power. And molded into a force that achieved the impossible.
A pitchfork revolution indeed.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
The colonists cared far less whether those who would become their leaders in the event of success were untested or even deeply flawed than they did about the willingness of those leaders to cast aside their comfort and wealth accumulated under British rule, and put it all on the line for the sake of what came to be America.
Still sounding familiar?
When the colonists revolted, they knew not what would happen in the aftermath. But they damn sure knew what they needed to do – organize, revolt, tear down the system. And consider the consequences later.
When the institutions that form the foundation of a colony – or a nation – collapse and lose the trust of their subjects, all it takes is a match to light the growing tinderbox and set the people to revolt. Ask the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Not all revolutions are just. And not all revolutions succeed, for so much of humanity is ultimately unwilling to embrace, or even accept, hard truths and genuine change. And understandably so, for real change is at once so alive with possibility, and yet so daunting.
On Tuesday, Americans will in the end decide whether they are the loyalists or patriots of days gone by…and ultimately, whether they are willing and able to launch a second American Revolution.